Preparing for training

Helpful items and information for group class or private training

  • Yourself and anyone else who will be involved in training or living with your dog (partner, family in your household, roommates, etc.).
  • Your dog, wearing a standard leash and properly fitted collar. Choke chains, correction collars, and retractable leashes are not allowed or advised. Body harnesses (such as a Freedom Harness or Balance Harness; Freedom Harnesses are sold at the class locations) are allowed and often recommended, but not required. Harnesses can be a great way to keep your dog’s neck safe from pressure if s/he gets excited and pulls on the leash, and they can also help curb pulling for those who have already started to pull on walks.
    • Note: If your dog pulls when walking on leash, a front-clip harness can be helpful. A combination of front-clipping harness and teaching your dog to focus on you among distractions can be a great way to help your dog learn how to walk politely on a leash.
  • Treats: preferably something soft and stinky. Hot dogs, pieces of string cheese, packets of cream cheese from Costco, baby food in a travel lotion bottle, roast beef, or pieces of rotisserie chicken can all be great, high-value reinforcement for your dog as well. A few of my favorites are: freeze dried treats, such as Sojo’s lamb, turkey, or beef, Meadow Farms’ duck or bison jerky treats (the soft ones that are already cut into tiny pieces), Natural Balance food rolls, PetKind tripe treats, and several brands of lickable treats. Some other common training treats include Zuke’s Mini Naturals, Ziwi Peak, Buddy Biscuit Natural Soft & Chewy, though I’ve seen these work best at home or in easier environments with less distractions. In general, find a treat or other food item your dog goes crazy for, even when there is a lot going on!
    • If your class or lesson will take place close to meal time, be careful not to feed your dog right before class. If he’s full, he may have less motivation to work.
  • Treat pouch: It’s highly recommended you bring some kind of treat bag to make it easy to carry and hold your treats. You may feel frustrated if you are trying to juggle a plastic baggie or a bag of treats that’s not meant for carrying with you. Treat pouches without drawstrings tend to be easier to manage, but drawstring pouches tend to be more widely sold in stores. My favorite is either of the Doggone Good pouches.  Some students also use rock climbing pouches, such as the ones sold at REI, or even use fanny packs or other kinds of small bags.
  • Toys, bones, or chews to help you keep your dog occupied during talk time or to use as additional motivators or fun-builders during lessons. A Kong that’s stuffed with some delicious peanut butter or canned dog food (or whatever your dog likes) and frozen to make it longer lasting is a great option. Some sort of bone or chew, like a bully stick, can also be a great idea.

For group classes or private training sessions meeting outside of the home

  • Poop bags 
    • Also, if your puppy has not been cleared to be out in public and isn’t currently taking walks outside, you may want to bring a potty pad to create a potty area if you’re taking a group class.
  • Water Bowl 
  • ** If you are attending a group class, you must also provide a copy of your dog’s vaccination records from your veterinarian. Please email or text a scanned copy or photo to Erin before your class starts.
  • Optional: A small mat, towel, or blanket that your dog might like to lay on during class. Eventually, we’ll use a mat in class. I will provide mats for class time use, but if you want to get one in advance, I’d recommend a bath mat, a yoga mat (possibly cut to size), or a dog mat such as a Mutt Mat.

Email us with questions.